Review: Simplicity 8214 | African Wax Print Pussy-bow Dress!

12:00 AM

Happy New Year! With a new year comes new things. And African Wax Prints are new to me. My Instagram feed is constantly filled with all sorts of African Wax Prints and Ankara Prints in the accounts I follow. I love looking at them. I'd never had a desire to try them out because I find a lot of the prints to be overwhelming since I'm not the biggest lover of big, bold and colorful prints. But when I saw the Black and Red Geometric African Wax Print from Mood Fabrics.com, I knew that was the one that would make me want to experiment.
When I received my fabric, it felt pretty stiff. I wasn't sure if it would work for the design that I had in mind. But with research, I discovered that the fabric softens with washing. And as I was pressing the folds out of mine, I noticed that the steam was also softening the fabric.
While using a print like this, I didn't want to look like I was wearing an ethnic costume. I wanted to keep my look contemporary. I decided to use Simplicity 8214. I love the style because I'm a fan of modernized 70s fashion. I felt this print and this design would be a good marriage. 
I cut the size 14. I lengthened the bodice by an inch and the skirt by 3 inches. No other modifications and alterations were necessary. This fabric sews just like any other fabric with a crisp hand, such as a dupioni or a shantung.
For interfacing, I used a medium weight. The necktie is made onto the blouse which is a really cute detail.
I added the cuffs to my sleeves and turned them up. I really like the way they look.
Pockets on a dress is always a winning detail. I rarely put anything in them other than my hands. But I love knowing they're there.
I love the additional length I added to create a midi length hemline. It's just perfect for wearing with over-the-knee boots.
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed working with this fabric. It wears well and it didn't wrinkle like I assumed it would. So in the future, I definitely won't rule out this kind of fabric and I'll be on the look out for more prints that work for my taste.

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50 comments

  1. that is so sharp looking, perfect combination for fabric and style, and it looks fantastic

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  2. Love the dress. I was glad you gave a lot of detail about African Wax Print material b/c I brought some last year while I was visiting New Jersey and haven't yet made anything with it b/c I unsure how it would behave. So, I glad your experience with it. I love the print I selected so now I will go ahead make my skirt. Thanks a lot for the knowledge of how the material will turn out.

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    1. Great! Thanks Sweet Waters!

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  3. Love the print of the fabric, and the dress looks great.

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  4. Impeccable! You were absolutely correct with marrying this print with that style of dress... Perfect! Very classic 70's style, and truly classy... Very Erica-like. Fabulously winning!

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  5. Love how this dress turned out. Very chic, elegant and sophisticated...very ladylike. A classic. The fabric you picked out is perfect for this dress. I love the cuffs you added. I have always been curious about these African wax print fabrics. I love bold big bright colorful prints but I am short and petite and would be overwhelmed. But you discovering this particular fabric makes me want to keep my eye out for this type of fabric. GORGEOUS dress (as always).

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    1. I'm so happy they're on my radar now as well. Now that I know what I like, I'll know what to keep an eye out for. Thanks Tomasa!

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  6. Gorgeous and Chic!You have a wonderful eye for matching fabrics with apparel design.

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  7. love it and it looks great on you

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  8. You look amazing in that dress! One of my favorites!

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  9. It's like a modern day hybrid coat dress, but more of a dress coat? Either way, I love it!

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    1. Definitely a dress! Thanks Karen!

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  10. Perfect combo of fabric and pattern, you have such a gift for that, you nail it every time!

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  11. Erica, your creations are always fabulous, but your Pussy-Bow Dress is my new favorite. Stunning! I, too, like to sew waxed cotton fabrics. Do you keep an eye on Vlisco fabrics? I haven't purchased any of their fabrics yet, but I do adore their ad campaigns. Ideas, visions, dreams... ahhhh.... Their website is large, but here's a place to start: http://v-inspired.vlisco.com/fashion/#lookbook

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    1. They're one of my favorite Instagram accts! Love them! Thanks Kathleen!

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  12. Great dress! I love how the fabric has a nice sheen. There was an exhibit of African Wax Print fashion in Baltimore last year. Check is out in an old post on the blog Miss Celie's Pants. I hope you had a nice visit at the Birmingham Museum of Art! You and Barbie (the painting) look great together!

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    1. Thank you MaryHelen! It's one of my favorite places in the city!

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  13. I just gotta say this is a KNOCKOUT! I especially love how you've paired the fabric and the pattern. I would love to see you make and model a whole collection of African wax prints done in contemporary style; it would completely kick the a** of everyone on 'Project Runway' from the last few years IMO.....I have loved African wax prints for a couple f decades but it is challenging for me to find the right combination of fabric and style. As a white person with low contrast coloring of hair and skintone, it could come off as too overwhelming or looking like a costume and that's not what I want at all! Peter Lappin of Male Pattern Boldness has done 2 shirts in African wax prints in recent times that I think are also good marriages of fabric and style. Perhaps 2017 is the year I'll be bold enough to try! Back to lurking.....

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    1. I definitely want to find more wax prints. Thanks so much helenko!

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  14. Oh my! This is gorgeous!! The colors in the print look so nice on you, and I think you did an excellent job marrying the print with the fabric.

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  15. Very beautiful Erica...I came across your blog recently and am in love with it.
    Am an African leaving in Ghana therefore I was excited to see you using prints from the continent. Continue to be an inspiration because whatever you are doing, it's affecting lives thousands of miles from.

    BTW...Am an investment banker who just completed a new in fashion school so I hope to have in internship through your blog..lol

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  16. Gorgeous!!! I love your print and pattern pairing here Erica, it's perfect!!

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  17. Beautiful! I love the pattern that you chose for this, and your accessories are perfect.

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  18. I was really surprised that wax prints soften up enough to make this lovely drapey dress. Good to know. It looks great on you and this print looks very modern.

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    1. I was pleasantly surprised as well. Thank you Nancy!

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    2. Do you recommend washing the fabric BEFORE cutting the pattern out?

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    3. I don't have enough experience with wax prints to recommend anything. You would need to do your own research on that.

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  19. You are brave for trying this fabric out. Nice job. It came out great, as usual. I love the pattern you chose.

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    1. I wouldn't call it bravery. Thanks Dana!

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  20. Absolutely beautiful, Erica.

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  21. You are spot on about not doing an ethnic print in a BoHo-ethnic style. This is far more striking.

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  22. I am not an African fabric expert, but from the significant sheen on yours, I am wondering if it might be bazin rather than wax. Bazin, unlike wax, uses a brocade fabric as the base before it is dyed. Typically, bazin has a much greater sheen and stiffness (virtually no drape) compared to wax. I believe the starch was traditionally pounded into the fabric with a stick. In any event, my guess is that whether wax or bazin, each wash will remove more of the starch and you will ultimately be left with a very thin, drapey fabric. So, if you like the current structure of the dress, you may have to use a lot of spray starch to get it back.

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    1. I doubt that it will ever get washed enough to wash the wax off! It's not a piece casual enough to be in heavy rotation, so it'll retain its luster for a while! Thanks Melissa!

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    2. Really Nice dress with a nice print! As i am an african wax fabric lover, i recommend u to check vlisco.com, you'll find there various prints; plus their fabrics are high quality! Usually, an african wax fabric of good quality shouldn't be too shiny and too stiff. I've noticed when it's the case that, the colours tend to fade away or melt after some washings... Like Melissa said, only bazin must have a heavy coat of wax on it and you have to re-wax the bazin each time you wash it! But in your case like u said, it won't be a problem! kisses from Ivory Coast (West africa)

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  23. Beautiful chic look. I love the mod style you chose and the details.

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